It seems like Europe gets to have all the fun. BMW has announced its new line of diesel-powered M Performance SUVs. Though the vehicles are powerful, efficient, and easy on the eyes, BMW currently has no plans to bring them to the U.S. market.
The SUVs in BMW's new M range include the X5 M50d and X6 M50d. All vehicles will be powered by a new 3.0-liter tri-turbo diesel I-6, confirming previous rumors. BMW says the three turbochargers are high-pressure, and utilize variable turbine geometry. The engine also makes use of common-rail direct injection with piezo injectors, a combination good for 2200 bar maximum injection pressure. What sort of power does all that fancy hardware net? Just 381 hp and a torque-tastic 546 lb-ft, that's all. Maximum power is achieved at 4000 rpm, while max torque is available at 2000 rpm, though the engine will rev all the way up to its 5400-rpm redline.
BMW incorporated many of its Efficient Dynamics-branded technologies into the new M models as well, with each vehicle getting Auto Start-Stop function and an efficiency-optimizing Eco Pro mode. An eight-speed automatic transmission will be the only gearbox available, and all models will feature BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system, optimized for enhanced dynamics. Also helping the new oil-burning M models in the handling department is an M-tuned suspension with specific springs and dampers, along with the many standard and available electronic chassis control systems. In addition, the X5 M50d gets an auto-self-leveling air suspension for its rear axle.
Each M Performance model also gets subtle exterior enhancements, which include side mirrors and intake bars finished in Ferric Grey metallic, trapezoidal exhaust tips, high-gloss Shadow Line trim, and exclusive 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels.
That's all great, but how do they perform? BMW published estimates for acceleration, top speed, and average fuel consumption, and the numbers are pretty impressive. The X5 M50d takes 5.4 seconds to reach 62 mph, more than a second faster than the last X5 xDrive35d we tested, though 1.3 seconds slower than a gasoline-fed X5 M. The X6 M50d is quicker to 62 mph at 5.3 seconds, according to BMW's estimates. All models have an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph. BMW suggests fuel economy is somewhere around 31 mpg combined, although that figure is based on EU-cycle testing.
In summary, Europe will be getting two sporty diesel SUVs that are both relatively quick and efficient, while the U.S. will probably be stuck with the standard gasoline-powered X5s and X6s. Life is so unfair sometimes.